Providing discreet and superior DUI defense for the discerning few since 1975.
If a DUI conviction is not an option; if a DUI conviction will destroy your life; then it is time to turn to a nationally recognized leader of the DUI Defense Bar—James Farragher Campbell.
If you are charged with a DUI in California these are your rights:
You have the right to be represented by an attorney at all stages of the proceedings, and if you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one for you.
You have the right to a trial on the charge of any alleged prior conviction and specifically a right to a trial by a jury of twelve persons, all of whom must agree to a verdict before you may be found guilty.
You have the right to subpoena into Court evidence and witness on your behalf, including your right to testify on your own behalf.
You have the right to confront witnesses against you and cross-examine them.
You have the right against self-incrimination, which means the right to remain silent and the right not to testify against yourself.
What you should know about a DUI arrest.
Should I consult with a lawyer to review the facts of my case; and will this case evaluation costs me anything?
Yes, you should definitely have an interview with the actual lawyer who you are considering for representation. You can also speak with some of the top DUI defense lawyers in the country without having to pay a consultation fee. Be certain you will be speaking with a DUI defense lawyer and not a general criminal lawyer. This area of criminal defense (DUI defense) has become so complicated that it is now recognized as a “specialty.”
Be careful as well when a law firms claim to provide representation all over the state. Do you really think one lawyer is going to be all over the State of California handling DUI cases? In these situations it is likely that you will be assigned to another lawyer who has an office in the area where your case is located. The referral lawyer will then probably take some kind of a referral fee to turn your case over. There are a few firms that spend a great deal of money on advertising and have a standing relationship with local lawyers who in turn are assigned your case. You can easily spot these lawyers and firms in that they each advertise separately and jointly. In other words lawyer X is listed as a member of law firm Y, but you see lawyer X’s advertisements for his office standing separate and apart from law firm Y. You may be paying extra in your fee for the referral from law firm Y to lawyer X.
When you have your interview, the interviewing lawyer should be able to give you a case evaluation and intelligently explain how they would go about defending your case. Any lawyer who spends time telling you how good they are is not telling you how they would go about trying to win your case. Get information on what issues they see in the case and what chances you have in either winning the case or getting a favorable settlement away from a DUI conviction.
Should the lawyer keep me informed with what is going on in my case?
Absolutely. You should always be receiving letters and copies of all motions filed in your defense, as well as copies of all police reports and DMV reports.
You should also be sure that you will be kept well informed on the progress and developments in your case at all times.
What about the DMV hearing, will the lawyer represent me there as well?
Yes, once retained, most DUI defense lawyers will also automatically contact the DMV within the ten (10) day time limit and will represent you at the DMV hearing. Most times you will not have to attend this hearing; however, each case is different and the lawyer will advise you if your appearance will be necessary well in advance of the scheduled hearing.
How do I hire a DUI defense lawyer?
You simply must set aside some time to undertake this very important task. The lawyer you hire will have a large part to play in determining the outcome of your case. The outcome of your case can and will impact you for many years to come. IT IS IMPORTANT!
Traditionally, you would ask friends, relatives, business associates and or other lawyers you might know for the name of a good DUI defense lawyer. This however, also reveals to others that you have been arrested and that is usually not good.
You do have a great research tool available to you and you are already using it – the internet!
Remember, anyone can put up an internet web site. It can say almost anything and the lawyer wants you to think that they are great. Look to the lawyer’s reputation and standing in the DUI defense bar. That is what should be on the web site, not a lot of self promotion and TV appearances. There is absolutely no substitute for experience and reputation. A lawyer’s knowledge and reputation is really all they have to sell. Naturally, those lawyers with the best track record, experience and reputation will end up costing the most, but not always. Think about the value you are getting verses the costs.
What legal fees and costs am I likely to run into for a competent defense?
Again, no surprise, you will usually get what you pay for just like any other service. The biggest names in the business will charge the most. But be careful, be sure those lawyers will actually be the lawyers who will be working on your case. It is not uncommon for a well known lawyer to attract clients and have other associates do the actual legal work. Be sure you speak with the lawyer you want and be sure that lawyer will be available to you for trial. There are well known lawyers who never even interview a prospective client. Once the firm is retained the clients still never get to speak with that lawyer.
What about the lawyers who quote a low fee?
There are lawyers who can quote you a low fee, but know what you are getting for the fee. Are you going to get the quality and time commitments that are needed to be taken in your defense?
Watch out for a lawyer that will charge you a relatively low fee. They may be doing that because they have no intention of spending the proper amount of time defending your case in court. Such an attorney may have a strong financial incentive to avoid a number of court appearances and/or conduct the proper case preparation. These types of attorneys rarely, if ever, go to trial.
Favorable pretrial settlements come about through a strong advocate. A strong advocate is one that knows how to successfully try a DUI case. To successfully try a DUI case you obviously have to have tried a great many. This is the great strength, the professional standing and reputation of good lawyers.
Again, be careful, a large fee does not guarantee a good lawyer. There are some bad apples out there just waiting for you. Always check the lawyer’s standing in Martindale–Hubbell. It is the oldest directory of lawyer’s standing and reputations in the legal community. It is voted upon by other lawyers. So you have, in essence, lawyers ranking other lawyers.
Searching the listing of legal organizations such as the National College for DUI Defense, www.ncdd.com, is a very good idea. Members of the College are dedicated to DUI as their major practice area.
Be careful of commercial sites that simply list lawyers. These lawyers usually pay a fee to be listed. Such a listing does not go to their qualifications, only that they want to attract DUI clients for representation. Such lists are certainly not a fair prediction of how the lawyer will represent you.